MLB Week in Review (March 31-April 4)

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Another season is here as the rumours and the analysis would go out the window as the players were simply allowed to play. A few surprising starts would highlight the first week of the season as teams considered the worst in the league would launch themselves to the top of their divisions. Miami, Seattle, and Houston would all find themselves at the top of their divisions. All three of these teams were seen as three of the worst teams in the league but would start much better than many expected. It is only one week though and the standings right now will not be the standings at the end of the season in September. Still it will give many fans a chance to see their team winning a glimmer of hope for their teams to be in the fight. Not all of these teams will be in the fight at the end of the season but building up a number of wins right now may have an impact in the end of their season as they all try to play meaningful baseball in September. Some would say that the Marlins good start to the season was expected as Spring Training would finish with the Marlins near the top of the Grapefruit League. The Marlins were the best National League team in Spring Training as many would see them as a potential contender this year. Then again it is Spring Training and it can fool a lot of people into thinking that it means a lot for the regular season. In many sports the preseason can show something for teams as they look to get their team going for the first time. Many times it is a chance for the teams to begin to gel and for the coaches to find the best pairings or best groups of players that can play together to win. As teams are figuring it out what they have the end of the preseason can bring some promise to teams who may have started to gel early on and can go into the season more ready for the grind of a season than the rest. In the MLB Spring Training is much different as it is less about finding the right lineup than giving their top prospects a look against major league competition. Many times teams will run split squad games where minor leaguers take on major leaguers while their major leaguers do the same against a different team. Spring Training records alone do not tell a great story as there could be a number of situations that gave the team a good record that will never happen in the regular season. In 2013 the Kansas City Royals, Seattle Mariners, and Colorado Rockies were counted among the top teams in the preseason. All three of them would miss the postseason and would see a strong preseason result in nothing more than a strong performance by their young players. Spring Training is not entirely pointless though as it can serve a very important purpose for a number of players and teams. Many teams have their lineup set when they enter Spring Training but there are always those few spots that they need to make a decision on. Many teams use Spring Training to decide how they will go about filling these spots creating a competition between two players to see who can have the biggest impact. More often than not teams look at the pitching staff in Spring Training and try to find their final pitchers to round out their full rotation. Teams can also take a look at their top prospects to see if they truly belong in the MLB or if they are a good option to be called up during the season. They have a chance to see their young stars and compare them against the pros and see where they stand. Spring Training is an important part to the MLB calendar but it does not determine whether a team is going to be a contender for the regular season. As good as Miami was in the Spring Training and as good as they have been in the first week there is a lot of baseball to be played and only until they get through more games will they show what type of team they can be. That is the same for all of the surprise teams at the top of the standings as they have a lot more baseball to play to truly show if they can be the turnaround team of the 2014 season. As they look to prove that every other team is trying to get their share of the division crown and their share of the postseason as the possibilities are endless at the start of the season with every team having a shot if they can last the marathon that is the MLB season.

 

Extra Innings
(Extra Thoughts on this week in baseball)

Trout’s Big Deal
After signing a 1-year $1 million deal to hold him over during longer contract talks Mike Trout would sign a 6-year $145 million deal before the season started as the 22-year old now must live up to that contract in leading the Angels

Cingrani’s Impressive Record
Tony Cingrani is not a pitcher that has been talked about too much but the second year Reds pitcher is putting his name on the map as he would become the only pitcher ever to have 19 straight starts allowing less than 5 hits a game, a record that start last year in his first MLB start

Down Already
Clayton Kershaw would sign a 7-year $215 million deal in the offseason becoming one of the highest paid pitchers in the league but his first season under the new contract has already been bad as he would pitch one game and then enter the 15-Day DL that could keep him out for the first month

Replays Results
The first week of the season was the first true test of the new Replay rules for the MLB and so far it has received mixed reviews as calls are being corrected bu the game is being slowed down with managers walking out to delay until they know whether to review the play or not in
standings_w1

Key Scores:
San Diego Padres 3 – 1 Los Angeles Dodgers
– The MLB season would officially open in North America when the Dodgers travelled to San Diego after starting the official season overseas in Japan but the Dodgers would not get the result they wanted losing their opening game

Philadelphia Phillies 14 – 10 Texas Rangers
– The first full day of games would see plenty of action but no game would have more offence than the Phillies and the Rangers as they would go back and forth with bad pitching performances allowing 24 total runs and the Phillies coming out on top

Houston Astros 3 – 1 New York Yankees
– The Yankees did not start their season the way they were hoping as they would take on the team many consider to be the worst in baseball but they would not get the success they wanted losing the series including this game

New York Yankees 7 – 3 Toronto Blue Jays
– Masahiro Tanaka looked shaky to start the game as he was given a 2-run lead in the opening frame and then would allow a home run against his first batter but the shakiness would not last as he settled down and got a lot of help from the offence to spoil the Jays’ home opener

 

Next Week:
San Francisco Giants vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (Saturday April 5th; 4:10 pm ET)
– The Giants would start this series with a big win and are hoping to continue that as they take on their division rivals and look to get an early season lead in the division race that may come down to both of these teams

Los Angeles Angels vs. Houston Astros (Monday April 7th; 2:10 pm ET)
– The Astros are looking better than anyone expected as they sit at the top of their division while the Angels started worse than most expected sitting at the bottom of their division and looking to make their way back to the top

Texas Rangers vs. Boston Red Sox (Wednesday April 9th; 4:05 pm ET)
– The Rangers have struggled out of the gate but are looking to climb back although they will be in tough against the defending champions in Boston who have done a great job of shaking off the hangover for now

Washington Nationals vs. Atlanta Braves (Friday April 11th; 7:35 pm ET)
– The Nats and the Braves could be headed to a great race for the division and both will look to take their first shots in that race as they face off for the first time this year in hopes that they can get one up on their division rivals

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